Windows 7 Browser – You Now Have A Choice February 25th, 2010
After the requirement of the European Commission for Microsoft to offer a choice of browsers to its users (See Article), I noticed that Windows Update has today downloaded a small update which finally gives me the choice (not that I or anyone else of course could not have already manually changed browsers beforehand) as to which browser I prefer to use with Windows 7.
The update in question is KB976002 – Microsoft Browser Choice Screen Update for EEA Users of Windows 7.
Once downloaded and applied, the update adds an icon to your desktop (appropriately named Browser Choice) which when clicked, opens up Internet Explorer and continues to offer you a selection of alternative browsers for you to take a look at or download (the download links and appropriate links to the relevant vendor sites for information are included for convenience). The current options are:
- Internet Explorer
- Mozilla Firefox
- Google Chrome
By clicking the Browser Choice icon and running through the options, you’ll notice that Internet Explorer is automatically unpinned from the taskbar but that it is not uninstalled (of course Internet Explorer forms an integral part of the OS and can never be fully uninstalled), although it is possible to further remove all reference to it by un-checking the Internet Explorer option by going to Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows features on or off.
I think the inclusion of this choice is a step in the right direction but I would have liked to have seen it taken a step further. It would have been great to have seen an option to not only choose additional browsers, but the ability to define your default browser and remove reference to Internet Explorer (if that’s what you choose to do of course) all in one place.
Personally I still use Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 3.6 and Google Chrome 4 so this update has not changed anything for me but I am sure that it will have an impact on the browser trends within Europe over the coming years as more and more people come to realise that they have a choice; perhaps then Microsoft will start developing further releases of Internet Explorer to the same set of standards as other vendors in the hope that its popularity increases once again.
Mozilla Officially Release Firefox 3.6 January 21st, 2010
Finally, after all of the recent testing Mozilla has released the much anticipated Firefox 3.6, the latest version of what many consider the de-facto browser.
So what’s changed from Firefox 3.5?
Mozilla Release Firefox 3.6 Beta November 2nd, 2009
Mozilla has now released the beta of the soon to be released Firefox 3.6 release which has optimisations across the board, a new theme feature as well as a whole load of minor tweaks and updated platform technologies. It’s been over 2 months since Mozilla unveiled Firefox 3.6 alpha and whilst work is a long way off being finished, they are now pushing forward with the public beta. It’s been code named ‘Namoroka’ after a national park on the island of Madagascar.
The beta is built on the Gecko 1.9.2 rendering engine and is said to contain many improvements for web developers as well as end users. The beta will feature a built-in theme engine which has been called ‘Personas’. The Personas feature allows you to dress up your browser in colours using various user interface themes which will not require a restart to install. Personas will be available initially as a Mozilla Labs experimental extension so officially, may not feature in the final release. Another notable feature is a new dialog that will let you know when any of your installed plug-ins expire, ensuring that you are kept up-to-date and safe.
The beta supports the WOFF font format and new CSS, DOM and HTML5 web technologies. It will be able to display open video in full screen and supports poster frames. Needless to say the final release will have even more features. The full list of features and changes can be found here [Link].
If you want to give the beta a try yourselves, here are the installers:
Caveat: I have provided the installers for your convenience, please only download and install them if you understand the concept of a beta release. I will not be held responsible for any problems you have, nor will I be able to offer any support. Please ensure you backup any personal data before using beta software!
If you do decide to give the beta a try, let me know how you get on and your thoughts.
Internet Explorer 6 – Going, Going, Gone October 24th, 2009
If you’ve arrived at my blog using Internet Explorer 6, you’ll find that some of the features do not work as they should and the blog doesn’t always display correctly. You’ll still be able to view my posts which of course is the most important thing (well, I’d like to think so…), but you’re overall experience may not be as good as it could be. You’ll also receive a notice to consider upgrading to a new browser.
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 was released in 2001. In its day it was a decent enough browser but in 2009 its time is fast coming to an end, a decade is a long time in the IT world and things have moved on. As any developer or coder will tell you, working with IE6 is one of the most difficult and frustrating things to deal with on a day to day basis; it takes up a disproportionate amount of their time. Aside from that, IE6’s support for modern web standards is very lacking, restricting what developers can create and in essence, holding them back from making the web a better, more interactive place.
So whilst not mandatory, I strongly urge you to upgrade your browser, my personal favourite is Firefox, you’ll find the web will look a much nicer place…